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Tools for Looking into the Brain: Patch-Clamp

In this episode, we discussed patch-clamp techniques and how they can help us understand the brain, and specifically how neurons work! We explored different types of patch-clamp techniques, the advantages that each one offers, as well as their limitations. Drawing from our own first-hand experiences with patch-clamp, we touch on both the challenges and rewards of the technique. We also questioned the future of patch-clamp, discussing the emergence and development of automated robots.

Listen to the episode here

You can find Scientifica's blog post about this episode here.

For an excellent overview of patch-clamp techniques, check out this blog post from Scientifica's blog

Basis of a "patch", with a glass pipette forming a tight seal with the membrane, followed by the application of a strong suction to break into "whole-cell" configuration

Different types of patch-clamp including cell-attached recording (top); whole-cell recording (middle left); inside-out recording (middle right); outside-out recording (bottom)

We covered some more niche patch-clamp techniques including...

Capacitance recordings that are used to study neurotransmitter vesicle release

Patch-seq that can simultaneously inform us about both the transcriptomic and electrophysiological properties of cells

Dynamic clamp, which can be used to test computationally-driven hypotheses experimentally

We also spoke about patch-clamp methods in living animals (in vivo)

Finally, we asked whether robots are viable in the future of patch-clamp

The first autonomous patch-clamp robot:

A very recent two-photon targeting patch-clamp robot:

Other blogs that might be useful for tips and tricks and troubleshooting for patch-clamp:

This episode is part of a series sponsored by Scientifica, one of the leading producers of state-of-the-art electrophysiology and imaging tools. Scientifica supports researchers around the world to make advancements in neuroscience, cardiology, cancer research, and various other scientific areas. In addition to leading equipment and comprehensive support, Scientifica hosts an extensive Resource Centre dedicated to fostering the sharing of expertise, which is full of a wide range of blogs, videos, case studies, and much more! Be sure to check out their website for more information.


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